Secretariat Established to Support Constitutional Reform Committee

A Secretariat, managed by the Ministry of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, has been established to provide technical guidance and support to the Constitutional Reform Committee (CRC).

The officers of the Secretariat are drawn from the Ministry and include the Permanent Secretary, Director of Legal Reform, Chief Parliamentary Counsel, Senior Constitutional Reform Officer, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and the Attorney General’s Chambers.

They will be assisted with steno writers from the Office of the Services Commission (OSC).

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, recently announced the names of the members of the CRC, which will play a key role in ensuring Jamaica’s smooth transition to a Republic.

The Committee will be chaired by Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte with Ambassador Rocky Meade as co-chair.

The other members include Attorney General, Dr. Derrick McKoy; Senate President, Tom Tavares Finson; Government Senator, Ransford Braham; Opposition Senator, Donna Scott Mottley; Member of Parliament, St. Andrew Western, Anthony Hylton; international constitutional law expert, Professor Richard Albert; national constitutional expert, Dr. Lloyd Barnett; consultant counsel and nominee of the leader of the Opposition, Hugh Small; representative of the wider faith-based society, Dr. David Henry; civil society representative, Dr. Nadeen Spence; Chair of the National Committee on Reparations, Lalieta Davis Mattis; and youth advisor, Sujae Boswell.

Christopher Harper will serve as the Committee’s liaison officer.

Speaking in the House of Representatives on March 28, Minister Malahoo Forte reminded members that the purpose of the Committee is to assist in providing expert guidance and oversight to the Government and people of Jamaica during the constitutional reform process.

She noted that it also aims to, among other things, implement the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional and Electoral Reform on which consensus remains, while helping to build compromise in areas where this has eroded or is nonexistent, or other related matters.

“The Committee is required to assess how the passage of time has impacted the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional and Electoral Reform; the recommendations that are contained in the final report, which was submitted to and approved by the Parliament,” she pointed out.

The Minister noted that the Committee will advise what fresh perspective should be considered in light of any new national, regional and international developments between then and now, as well as any necessary modification to update the recommendations for implementation.

She said that the Committee will also evaluate the recommendations on the establishment of the Office of the President of the Republic of Jamaica and advice on the nature of the presidency, the qualifications and tenure of the president and the legislative, executive or ceremonial powers to be exercised by the president as head of State.

“The committee is required to help guide the constitutional reform process throughout all phases of the work including during the referendum process… to culminate in the crafting of a modern, new constitution of Jamaica, which reflects an appreciation and understanding of our cultural heritage, our governance challenges and development aspirations, and which embodies the will of the people of Jamaica,” Minister Malahoo Forte added.

The committee is scheduled to meet on Wednesday (March 29).

The original story can be found here

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